Hopefully, someday when they become a husband and a father, they will remember their old football coach who loved his wife and daughters with all he had.
He wants to be able to eat his popcorn and cheer for the team like every other parents gets to do. He wants to be able to silently (obviously in his mind, not loudly of course—after all we are still a coaching family and know how to act in the stands) question the coach’s play call. He wants our kid to learn from other coaches and not just from him.
If my son grows up to become a man who is: loyal, hardworking, and spends his life serving others, just like his dad, what else could I ask for?
They look to us, they rely on us to set the tone. We are their guide through this busy season and how we steer them will determine whether they grow up respecting or resenting their fathers.
Not every kid has a team full of older siblings who care about what happened in school today or who will listen to the plot line of your most recent favorite Disney episode. You get to have them over for dinners or make them snack bags for the road. You get to make them signs, cheer them on, and even get a high five after the game. You get to travel and tailgate.
There are so many amazing things about the coaching life. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. But, as our sons get older, I’m learning to create space for them to flourish, and right now that means working a little harder at the “non-coaching” areas of life.
Create a prayer calendar with pictures of your husband's players.
On each day, put a picture of one of his players and make it part of your bedtime routine to pray over that player. Your kids will take ownership of praying over them, get to know them by name, and feel like they are a part of daddy's job.
I get excited when the last quarter rolls around and that clock starts winding down. Mommy reminds me that football minutes are a little longer than REAL minutes. But even if my eyes are getting heavy, the excitement around me keeps my energy up.
Yes, football and being a football family requires physical demands and emotional commitments from everyone involved. There are so many lonely dinners and difficult bath times. There are so many rushed labor-day cookouts and daddy-less trick-or-treats. There are so many tears from kids who miss their daddies -- and occasionally from mamas missing them too. Because there may not be crying in baseball, but believe me, there is crying in football. A lot of crying.
But most of those tears are the good kind.
Dear Coach Daddy,
I know you worry about me.
I know you wonder if you’re doing alright at this Dad thing, if you’re gone too much, if you’re striking the perfect balance between work and family.
But I just want to tell you something, Daddy.
I love that you’re my dad.
I love running out onto the field after games and leaping into your arms, trying to catch my breath as you toss me up into the air, sure that I’ll hit the stadium lights from flying so high.
I love playing hide-and-go-seek in the field house and sneaking candy from the coaches’ stash and hiding under your desk as I try to unwrap it with my tiny little mouse-fingers.
I love running the bases after baseball games, up and down the court after basketball games, and into the end zone after football games.
I love the anticipation of a team dinner, getting to color pictures for “the boys” before a game, and waiting to give them high-fives after a win … or a loss.
I love watching you and telling everyone in the stands, “That’s my daddy.”
I love that I have a dozen big brothers (or sisters) who tickle me and give me hugs, who know my name and make me feel special because YOU’RE my dad.
They love me mostly because they love you.
And yes Daddy, I miss you sometimes.
But I see how hard you’re trying to be the best dad.
I see when you walk through the door and your eyes light up when you spot me sprinting your way, but your body is a half-second behind.
I see when we wrestle on the floor after dinner, and you let me pin you down a little easier every time, but we go another round anyway.
I see when your eyes grow heavy while you read me books, but you barely make it to the end just so you can tuck me into bed and kiss my forehead.
Someday, these will be my childhood memories. And I won’t want to trade them for anything in the world.
Someday, I’ll thank you for teaching me things, like determination and coachability and the difference between roughing the kicker and running into the kicker.
A couple of those things will come in handy in life.
I love you. And I’m so proud to call you Daddy.
You could lose every game you ever coach, and I’d still be your biggest fan.
I’m Always and Forever,
Your Coach’s Kid